Showing posts with label History and Civilizations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History and Civilizations. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Israeli PM: “Islam in the Arab countries needs radical change”

    Wednesday, November 29, 2023   No comments

The war in Gaza may not be a war against Hamas after all, it is a war on the ideology and beliefs of Hamas. Echoing France’ President who called for an “Enlightened Islam”, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during his meeting with American businessman Elon Musk, who visited the Gaza Strip settlements, that “Islam in the Arab countries needs a radical change.”

Israel will purge Gaza’s mosques and schools of their “poisonous” ideology once its war with Hamas concludes, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told X (aka Twitter) owner Elon Musk in an interview on Monday.


The Israeli premier pointed to the wealthy Gulf states as examples of Muslim countries that had been “de-radicalized.”


Speaking to Musk in an interview live-streamed on X, Netanyahu said that the destruction of Hamas would be a “precursor” to more systemic changes in Gaza.

Expanding on his vision of a “de-radicalized” Gaza, Netanyahu told Musk that “you first have to get rid of the poisonous regime, as you did in Germany, as you did in Japan in World War II.”


Netanyahu pointed to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain as examples of Arab states that had undergone this process, likely referring to their recognition of Israel in 2020. With Riyadh on the cusp of a US-brokered recognition deal before the current war began, Netanyahu added that the “same thing is happening to a considerable extent in Saudi Arabia.”


The Israeli leader suggested that his country’s “Arab friends” could help rebuild Gaza, where the UN estimates that around half of all homes have been destroyed since the war began. Earlier this month, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that the Arab nations would not take part in any potential post-conflict peacekeeping in Gaza, nor would they “clean the mess” left behind by the Israeli military.


Saturday, September 30, 2023

Archaeologists unearth the largest cemetery ever discovered in Gaza and find rare lead sarcophogi

    Saturday, September 30, 2023   No comments

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian workers in the Gaza Strip have found dozens of ancient graves, including two sarcophagi made of lead, in a Roman-era cemetery — a site dating back some 2,000 years that archaeologists describe as the largest cemetery discovered in Gaza.

Workers came upon the site last year during the construction of an Egyptian-funded housing project near Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip. Since then, crews have worked to excavate the 2,700-square-meter (2/3 acre) site with the support of French experts.

Now, what was once an inconspicuous construction lot — surrounded by a grove of nondescript apartment buildings — has become a gold mine for archaeologists looking to understand more about the Gaza Strip.


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Fātima Al-Fihri the founder of the oldest university in the world that is still operating without interruption

    Tuesday, July 25, 2023   No comments

The Guinness World Records classifies Al-Qarawiyyin University in Fez, Morocco, as the oldest university in the world that is still operating without interruption, despite the scientific controversy that makes it compete with al-Zaytouna Mosque and University of Tunisia (which began its lessons since 737 AD / 120 AH) for the title of the oldest university in the world.

The merit of the establishment of the "Al-Qarawiyyin" is attributed to Fātima Al-Fihri, who founded the Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque in the mid-ninth century AD / mid-third century AH, but the accounts of historians who witnessed the era of Al-Qarawiyyin University after the era of Fatima, such as Ibn Khaldun and Abi Al-Hassan Ali bin Abi Zar' Al-Fassi, do not suggest that it was established as a university, but rather as a mosque built by Fatima with her money from stone and mud after she bought the land that was allocated to the mosque and the university later from her great inheritance.

The mosque and the university

The Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque was considered the oldest university because it did not go through the stumbling stages experienced by the institutes of Al-Zaytouna, Al-Azhar and Al-Mustansiriya Scientific School, and the "Qarawiyyin" remained far from the events of the capitals of the East and their great transformations, which preserved for it the continuity of its system and traditions, and dispensed with its endowments and spacious lands from the support of the authorities and the countries that passed through it.

The answer to the question of the time of the beginning of teaching in the villagers does not seem easy, but it certainly resembles the study of the many histories of mosques that combined the function of worship and prayer with being a center for education and teaching.

And the historian of the 14th century AD, Ali Al-Jaznai, believes in his book “Reaping the Flower of Myrtle in Building the City of Fez,” that the beginning of the villagers’ transformation into a university came with the scholars who established the villagers’ qiblah, and it was known about the poet Bakr Al-Tahrti and Imam Yahya the Fourth that they held scientific councils in the villagers.

Looking at the founding dates of European universities (Italian Bologna in the mid-12th century, and the Sorbonne at the beginning of the 13th century), Al-Qarawiyyin already appears to be the oldest university in the world, and the story of its founding is similar to the story of the Sorbonne, Bologna and Oxford universities, which also began teaching theology by monks before gradually developing into ancient universities, according to Moroccan historian Abd al-Hadi al-Tazi, author of the book "The Mosque of Al-Qarawiyyin".

Fatima Al-Fihri, the mother of the children

There are only limited sources about the life and story of tima Al-Fihri, including what was written by the historian Ibn Abi Zar’, who lived in the 14th century AD, in his book “Rawdat Al-Qirtas”, and described the land that tima bought and built the mosque on.

Ibn Abi Zaraa narrates the journey of the Tunisian villagers’ delegation to the Idrisid king, Yahya I, and their settlement around the slope of the villagers, including the “blessed woman tima,” the daughter of the Tunisian Arab man, Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Fihri. Fatima was with her sister Mary, and inherited a huge fortune that she spent on charitable work and building the mosque.

And Ibn Khaldun mentions in the 14th century on the authority of Fatima after he transmits what Ibn Abi Zaraa narrated, referring to the transfer of the Friday sermon to the Al-Qarawiyyin mosque and the crowding of the surrounding area, and Ibn Khaldun follows, "as if the kings' intentions were alerted afterwards."

The historian Abd al-Hadi al-Tazi saw in his study, which was originally a doctoral thesis on the al-Qarawiyyin mosque, that the construction of the mosque began during the reign of Sultan Daoud bin Idris based on a historical document dating back to the Idrisid period that was found during modern restoration work.

Although he does not know much about tima's life from ancient sources, Ibn Abi Zaraa and Ibn Khaldun narrated the story briefly, and the first explained the story of building the mosque from mud, gravel and yellow sand, and narrated the digging of the well in the courtyard of the mosque and Fatima's abundant spending on construction so that it would be a continuous good deed that would be rewarded in the afterlife.

After her departure, the Almoravid, Almohad, and Marinid states took care of the mosque, expanded it, and renovated its construction.

Transfer to university

This care taken by the rulers to win a moral status by supporting science and scholars contributed to the prosperity of the university and the formalization of its ancient educational systems, and in this way the mosque gave birth to a university.

Reference began to be made to the unique scientific status of the Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque since the 12th century AD, and its library gradually grew through books, donations, endowments, and the efforts of princes to increase its holdings, and Al-Qarawiyyin preserved its value as a center of religious and scientific knowledge in the Islamic world.

Although it is difficult to find an exact date for the mosque’s transformation into a university, some historians believe that the beginning of the transformation was in the Almoravid era (1056-1147 AD), coinciding with the change in the shape of the villagers during the era of the Almoravid state from its previous form, as they built a new platform for the mosque decorated with verses of the Qur’an, while others believe that the real transformation came during the era of the Marinid state, which sought to reform the mosque and build schools around it and enhance their presence, in preparation for the intervention in appointing preachers for the mosque that the notables supervised. manage it.

Al-Qarawiyyin University knew the system of scientific chairs, and endowments were allocated to spend on it. The scientific chair is considered a high-established degree that can be compared to modern academic positions.

The university attracted many scholars and philosophers, including Ibn Baja (d.: 533 AH / 1138 CE according to one of the sayings), Al-Sharif Al-Idrisi (559 AH / 1166 CE), Ibn Rushd (d.: 595 AH / 1198 CE), Musa bin Maimon (d.: 603 AH / 1205 CE), Ibn Khaldun (d.: 808 AH / 1406 CE), as well as the Pope of the Vatican. The French "Sylvester II (940-1003) who studied science in Arabic and is believed to have transferred Arabic numerals to Europe.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Too Hot? Learn how communities dealth with heat for 2500 years: The legacy of the wind towers of an ancient Iranian city

    Saturday, July 22, 2023   No comments

The temperature in some areas in Iran often exceeds 40 degrees Celsius, but what helps to withstand these high levels of heat are the wind towers (Barajil), which are the predecessors of current air conditioners, and do not pose any harm to the environment, which made architects pay attention to them again.

The city of Yazd, which is close to the Silk Road, is among the hottest cities in the world. It is characterized by hot summers and very rare rains, as it is surrounded by deserts.

How the wind catchers work

Iran is an extreme hot/cold and arid climate. 

It can get very hot in the daytime sun and then cool down completely at night. 

Before we had electric sockets and Iran was called Persia,  people engineered windcatchers. read the article or view it below.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Sheikh al-Azhar: Western civilization bears the largest part of the tragedy of modern man

    Thursday, June 01, 2023   No comments

The Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, received today, Thursday, at the headquarters of the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, the United Nations High Representative for the Dialogue of Civilizations, Miguel Moratinos, and ways to enhance joint cooperation were discussed.

The Sheikh of Al-Azhar welcomed Moratinos, stressing Al-Azhar's openness to dialogue with all believers in religions, cultures and civilizations.

Al-Tayeb pointed out that the world is currently facing a very complex crisis, which is the crisis of excluding religious and moral values from people's lives, stressing that this crisis does not only resonate and affect its makers, but also extends to all humanity, east and west, indicating that this crisis is The basis for all the conflicts and wars that our world is exposed to today.

The Sheikh of Al-Azhar pointed out that Western civilization bears the largest part in the tragedy of modern man, when it sought to exclude religion from people's lives, and focused on satisfying human desires and promoting material thought.

The Sheikh of Al-Azhar touched on the human suffering today, from the lack of food and medicine, and the climate change crisis, in addition to social crises.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

US Senator Roger Marshall: "The greatest long-term threat the United States faces is our national debt"

    Thursday, March 16, 2023   No comments

A statement that was true for almost all previous empires, is now discovered to apply to the US: "The greatest long-term threat the United States faces is our national debt". That is the conclusion of a US Senator Roger Marshall.

"I’m often asked what's the greatest threat our nation faces and I'm here to tell you [that] it's not Russia. It's not China. It's not North Korea. It's not Iran. And no, I love the environment, it's not climate change.  The greatest long-term threat the United States faces is our national debt of $31 trillion and growing," Marshall told the US Senate Budget Committee.

Reportedly, according to Marshall, President Joe Biden has spent more than any other president in US history during his first 20 months in office.

He adds that energy prices have risen by more than 37%, home heating fuel by more than 52%, electricity prices by more than 23%, gasoline by more than 45%, and groceries by more than 19% during the Biden administration.


Lessons from history support this point of view: almost all major empires collapsed under the weight of crushing debt, not due to outside military threats.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Quran Fragments, Said to Date From Time of Muhammad, Are Found in Britain

    Wednesday, July 22, 2015   No comments
Oldest surviving copies fragments of a Quran manuscript
Fragments of what researchers say are part of one of the world’s oldest manuscripts of the Quran have been found at the University of Birmingham, the school said on Wednesday.
The ancient fragments are probably at least 1,370 years old, which would place the manuscript’s writing within a few years of the founding of Islam, researchers say, and the author of the text may well have known the Prophet Muhammad.

The small pieces of the manuscript, written on sheep or goat skin, sat in the university’s library for about a century until a Ph.D. student noticed their particular calligraphy. The university sent a small piece of the manuscript to Oxford University for radiocarbon dating.

David Thomas, a professor of Christianity and Islam at the University of Birmingham, said that when the results came back, he and other researchers had been stunned to discover the manuscript’s provenance.

Muslims believe Muhammad received the revelations that form the Quran, the scripture of Islam, between 610 and 632, the year of his death. Professor Thomas said tests by the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit indicated with a probability of more than 94 percent that the parchment dated from 568 to 645.

During the time of Muhammad, the divine message was not compiled into the book form in which it appears today, Professor Thomas said. Rather, the words believed to be from God as told to Muhammad were preserved in the “memories of men” and recited. Parts of it were written on parchment, stone, palm leaves and the shoulder blades of camels, he said.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

ISIL changes name and declares its territories a new Islamic state with 'restoration of caliphate' in Middle East

    Sunday, June 29, 2014   No comments
Caliphate according to ISIL & affiliates
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has reportedly declared the areas it occupies in Iraq and Syria as a new Islamic state, removing Iraq and the Levant from its name and ushering in “a new era of international jihad”.

The announcement will see the Isis now simply refer to itself as The Islamic State, and the group has called on al-Qa’ida and other related militant Sunni factions operating in the region to immediately pledge their allegiance.

According to Isis’s chief spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the declaration of the “restoration of the caliphate” was made after a meeting of the group’s Shura Council. In recent weeks, Isis has captured large areas of western and northern Iraq and for two years has held parts of Syria, imposing a harsh interpretation of Islamic law and in many cases, killing large numbers of opposition Shia Muslims.

Adnani said all jihadist organisations must now offer up their support to Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has been declared Caliph of the new state.

Charles Lister, visiting fellow at the Qatar-based Brookings Doha Centre, said that the declaration signalled “massive trouble” regardless of the perceived legitimacy of the Isis group, adding that the next 24 hours will be “key”.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Inside the Arabic Islamic Institute in Tokyo

    Monday, May 12, 2014   No comments
Inside the Arabic Islamic Institute in Tokyo, 15 students of calligraphy raptly practice writing verses from the Qur’an. Yet when the call to prayer is heard, few stir. The instructors and students are Japanese, and only two are Muslims. Here, their calligrapher’s pens (qalam in Arabic) are not made of reeds, as is traditional in much of the Islamic world. Nor do they use the brushes (fude) favored by Japanese calligraphers. Their pens are made of bamboo, which is plentiful in Japan.

For centuries, educated Japanese have been taught the traditions of calligraphy beginning in grade school. At the Nitten, the annual arts exhibition in Osaka, calligraphy is important enough to merit its own section. An appreciation of calligraphy is a lifelong interest for many Japanese, and for some, acquiring proficiency at it is a lifelong study. Yet, over the past two decades, a few have quietly put down their fude and picked up a bamboo qalam to try their hand at calligraphy in Arabic, which, they often find, is not as alien as they had thought.

Yukari Takahashi, who owns an elegant Tokyo nightclub, holds up a sheet of Japanese rice paper with embossed floral patterns framing immaculate calligraphy. I ask her why she studies Arabic calligraphy, and, in her limited English, she answers, “Very beautiful.” Other practitioners—a retired consul-general, a choreographer and dancer, the head of the Tokyo City Retirement Fund—also mention beauty first when describing their attraction to Arabic calligraphy.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The vicious schism between Sunni and Shia has been poisoning Islam for 1,400 years - and it's getting worse

    Thursday, February 20, 2014   No comments
Rendering of Imam Hussain after Karbala
The war in Syria began much earlier than is generally recognised. The conflict actually began in the year 632 with the death of the Prophet Mohamed. The same is true of the violence, tension or oppression currently gripping the Muslim world from Iraq and Iran, though Egypt, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A single problem lies behind all that friction and hostility. On Tuesday, Britain's leading Muslim politician, the Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi, obliquely addressed it in a speech she made in Oman, the Arab state at the south-east corner of the Arabian Peninsula strategically positioned at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. The religious tolerance of the Sultanate, she suggested, offered a model for the whole of the Islamic world. It certainly needs such an exemplar of openness and acceptance.

What most of the crucibles of conflict in the Middle East have in common is that Sunni Muslims are on one side of the disagreement and Shia Muslims on the other. Oman is unusual because its Sunni and Shia residents are outnumbered by a third sect, the Ibadis, who constitute more than half the population. In many countries, the Sunni and the Shia are today head-to-head.

The rift between the two great Islamic denominations runs like a tectonic fault-line along what is known as the Shia Crescent, starting in Lebanon in the north and curving through Syria and Iraq to the Gulf and to Iran and further east.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Word As Image: Contextualizing “Calligraffiti: 1984-2013″ with French-Tunisian Street Artist eL Seed

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014   No comments

“Calligraffiti:1984-2013,” runs from September 5th to October 5th, 2013 at New York’s Leila Heller Gallery. As an updated version of the original show in 1984, the current exhibition features nearly fifty artists from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and North America. The article below also contains segments of an interview with French-Tunisian street artist eL Seed.

The interplay between word and image– of language and visual representation– has become complexly intertwined in the cultural productions of contemporary societies. The art gallery combines text and image; most installations are accompanied by a placard revealing information about the piece such as the name of the artist, the materials used, as well as the name of the work and when it was created. Here, the word becomes a conveyor of meaning, which elucidates the content of the visual material. The textual is treated just as an instrument in the service of the visual. However, in the cases of calligraphy and graffiti– two separate but undeniably related art forms– text itself is the object of beauty. The word merges with the image itself and the dichotomy between the two is nullified; no one can say when the letters end and the image begins, or vice versa.

This synthesis of linguistic signs and visual representation is explored by New York’s Leila Heller Gallery in their new exhibition entitled “Calligraffitti: 1984-2013.” The show features a substantial collection of text-based visual art created by artists such as eL Seed, Parviz Tanavoli, Hassan Massoudy, Hossein Zenderoudi, Shirin Neshat, and many more. The show’s titular portmanteau points to another unification: that between graffiti and calligraphy. With the majority of the featured artists originating from the Arab world and Iran, the allusion to the regions’ traditional calligraphic practice is prominently displayed. The influence of early Islamicate styles such as floriated Kufic and Nasta’liq’s siah mashq are clearly visible in the innovative works.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Pilgrimage to a Person

    Thursday, August 29, 2013   No comments

When you are not with close friends,
you are not in the presence.

It is sad to leave the people you travel with.
How much more so those who remind you of God.
Hurry back to the ones protecting you.

On every trip, have only one objective,
to meet those who are friends
inside the presence.

If you stay home, keep the same purpose,
to meet the innermost presence
as it lives in people.

Be a pilgrim to the Ka`ba inside a human being,
and Mecca will rise into view on its own.

A Rumi's poem, translated by Coleman Barks

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Erdoğan says history will curse Al-Azhar Sheikh for endorsing coup

    Sunday, August 25, 2013   No comments
Turkey's prime minister has slammed Egypt's leading Islamic cleric for endorsing the military coup in Egypt, saying that history will curse scholars like him.
Ahmet al-Tayed, Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, backed an army-sponsored roadmap on July 3 which removed former President Mohammed Morsi, suspended the constitution and called for early presidential and parliamentary elections.

The leader of Cairo's ancient seat of Sunni Muslim learning made a brief statement following an announcement by the head of the armed forces that deposed the elected president, endorsing the military coup. 

Speaking at a university named after him in Rize, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a scholar is the one who doesn't compromise from his honor no matter what the consequences are, in an apparent reference to Al-Azhar Sheikh. He said if a politician like him tells a scholar something that is not true, the scholar should reject this.

Erdoğan said being silent in the face of events in Egypt means taking on a tremendous burden. He complained that scholars and universities failed to voice their opposition to the military coup in Egypt, despite expectations for the opposite. He provided the sheikh of Al-Azhar as an example, as he endorsed the Egypt coup.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Exhibition showcasing over 1000 years of Islamic art and architecture opens at the Asian Civilisations Museum

    Tuesday, July 30, 2013   No comments
The Asian Civilisations Museum presents an exhibition of works of art from the Aga Khan Museum. Featuring masterpieces of Islamic art and architecture spanning many centuries and from regions around the world, Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Architecture in Islamic Arts are on display at the ACM from 19 July to 28 October 2012. Architecture, with tiled and gilt domes, shaded courtyards, and inscribed gates, became a natural expression of Islam. The exhibition reveals how Muslim artists perceived the Islamic built environment. Over 100 objects, ranging from manuscript illumination, paintings, and architectural elements to hajj certificates and tiles decorated with passages from the Qur‟an, illustrate ideas of space and decoration in both religious and secular environments. The exhibition offers insights into some of the great Islamic dynasties: the al-Andalus of the Iberian Peninsula; Ilkhanid, Timurid, and Safavid Iran; Ottoman Turkey; and Mughal India. “Islamic architecture is one of the most visible aspects of Islamic culture,” says Dr Alan Chong, director of the Asian Civilisations Museum. “This exhibition approaches architecture from several points of view. Intricately painted illuminations capture the world in miniature, and invite the viewer into splendid palaces and intimate gardens. At the same time, visitors can inspect carved wooden beams and brilliantly coloured glazed tiles that once decorated mosques and other buildings. We hope that visitors will gain new insights into the history and creativity of the Islamic world.”


Azeri maqami musician Alim Qasimov will be joining an Iranian band to perform a concert at the 49th International Festival of Carthage in Tunis

    Tuesday, July 30, 2013   No comments
Vocalist Mohammad Motamedi will lead the group, which also features Sina Jahanabadi on kamancheh, Azad Mirzapur on tar, Pasha Hanjani on ney, and Hossein Rezaeinia and Milad Abassi on daf.

The concert has been scheduled for August 3 at the festival, which is currently underway in Tunisia. The festival will run until August 17.

Maqams or maqamat are sets of musical scales and characteristic melodic elements, or motives, and traditional patterns for their use, forming a system for the melodic and tonal development of performances in Islamic music.

Maqami music is connected to the traditions and perspective of an ethnic group living in a particular region.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Kufic Ancient and Modern: from calligraphy to typography

    Friday, July 26, 2013   No comments
The Kuficpedia project is developing through an international group of scholars and designers with a shared interest in the Kufic script. The project came together around the historical research and achievements of calligrapher and typeface designer, Seyed Mohammad Vahid Mousavi Jazayeri. Vahid’s study of Thulth and Naskh scripts began in 1982 and after nearly ten years of training he began teaching students in Tehran since 1991. Within a year, he was developing two complementary fields: historical calligraphy research in a range of media (ceramics, coins, plaster and stone, as well as manuscripts) and contemporary type design.

He took a major step forward in 1993 when he rediscovered the lost technique of cutting a qalam (pen, writing implement) for the Primary Kufic script. Surviving Primary Kufic pens have been recut several times to refresh the tip and this has left characteristic scars that may also be seen on Vahid’s pens. Noting these scars, Professor Kalhornia, graphic designer and historian of calligraphy, concludes that Vahid has indeed recovered the lost technique. But, more than this, Vahid’s continuing research into the history and development of the script has led him also to recover the authentic calligraphic technique, and this means that Primary Kufic can not only be revived knowledgeably and relevantly but can also pave the way for – or even inspire – contemporary new scripts that correspond to its stateliness and range.

Vahid’s developing professional interest in type design continued alongside his historic researches, thus putting him in a uniquely authoritative position to revive the Kufic script and guide its contemporary development. He has designed over 3,000 logotypes as well as creating unusually rich and nuanced fonts whose expressive range is comparable with Primary Kufic.

An important core of his work was published in the Kufic Encyclopedia, which not only provides superlative, fully identified, historic exemplars but also gives technical training for the script. Kufic has, of course, already inspired other scripts such as Thulth and Naskh, and initial surveys of these are found in the Script and Calligraphy set, and in Stone Inscriptions: Kufic and Thulth.

In addition to research, Vahid has also published numerous calligraphic posters, including Divine Love (a set of 12 works in two sizes), Breeze of East, Messiah of Souls and Seventh Heaven.

Kuficpedia’s members and contributors are active in a variety of disciplines (including art history, philosophy, calligraphy, graphic and typeface design) and one of our core activities is conducting workshops in different countries. Kuficpedia is a non-profit group.

Seyed Mohammad Vahid Mousavi Jazayeri

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

While important government figures were playing “brotherhood” at five star hotels, the groups have decided to share the table with the Anti-Capitalist Muslims, who share Alevis’ sorrow and recognize the community as it is, rather than attempting to define the group

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013   No comments
An Alevi association has announced plans to reject an offer from President Abdullah Gül to attend an iftar at Istanbul’s five-star Polat Renaissance Hotel in favor of breaking the fast with the Anti-Capitalist Muslims group.

The Central Office of Alevi Cultural Associations and the Hubyar Sultan Association said brotherhood between Alevis and the government could not be secured only at iftar tables, noting that Alevi citizens’ problems and requests have been ignored by the government for years.

While important government figures were playing “brotherhood” at five star hotels, the groups have decided to share the table with the Anti-Capitalist Muslims, who share Alevis’ sorrow and recognize the community as it is, rather than attempting to define the group.

“We believe brotherhood cannot be secured merely by eating and drinking at a table in an environment where cemevis are still not counted as houses of worship, compulsory Sunni education is continued for Alevi children, children are forced to choose elective Sunni religion classes, Alevi houses of worship, especially the Hacı Bektaş Dervish lodge, which was extorted by the government, have not been given back to Alevis and the Madımak Hotel has been converted into a memorial house where the murderers’ names are also found instead of [being converted into] an exemplary museum condemning the [1993 Sivas] massacre,” the foundation said in a statement yesterday.

“Alevis don’t have equal rights in all fields as should be in a democratic country, and the government does not cease defining and describing faiths, their prayers and houses of worship,” the statement said.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How Timbuktu’s manuscripts were saved from jihadists

    Tuesday, May 28, 2013   No comments
In TIMBUKTU, MALI — It was 7 o’clock on a hot night in August, and Hassine Traore was nervous. Behind him were 10 donkeys, each strapped with two large rice bags filled with ancient manuscripts. The bags were covered in plastic to shield them from a light rain.

Radical Islamists had entered Timbuktu four months earlier, and they had set about destroying everything they deemed a sin.
They had demolished the tombs of Sufi saints. They had beaten up women for not covering their faces and flogged men for smoking or drinking. They most certainly would have burned the manuscripts — nearly 300,000 pages on a variety of subjects, including the teachings of Islam, law, medicine, mathematics and astronomy — housed in public and private libraries across the city.

The scholarly documents depicted Islam as a historically moderate and intellectual religion and were considered cultural treasures by Western institutions — reasons enough for the ultraconservative jihadists to destroy them.

But a secret operation had been set in motion within weeks of the jihadist takeover. It included donkeys, safe houses and smugglers, all deployed to protect the manuscripts by sneaking them out of town.

This is the story of how nearly all the documents were saved, based on interviews with an unlikely cast of characters who detailed their roles for the first time. They included Traore, a 30-year-old part-time janitor, and his grandfather, a guard.

“We knew that if we attracted any attention, the Islamists would arrest us,” Traore recalled.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rage, but also self-criticism

    Thursday, September 20, 2012   No comments

Though most Muslims felt insulted by a film trailer that disparaged the Prophet Muhammad, many were embarrassed by the excesses of protesters and preachers

AFTER the noon prayer in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on September 14th, a copiously bearded speaker delivered a rousing, finger-wagging open-air sermon. Thundering against the incendiary anti-Muslim film trailer that recently appeared on the internet, he warned his brothers to prepare for battle, urging them to take up weapons against incoming “Crusader armies”. Soon after, youths resumed a rock-throwing assault on police protecting the nearby American embassy.

As with past incidents of what many Muslims see as Western attacks against their beliefs, similar scenes unfolded across the Muslim world, producing tragic results. The anger displayed at all these events was certainly real, and widely shared among Muslims. Yet the television coverage of protests obscured an obvious fact. As in many other protests across the region, the crowd at the fiery Friday sermon in Cairo numbered in the mere hundreds, in a space where throngs a thousand times bigger have become commonplace. In the midst of a city of perhaps 20m inhabitants, the rest went about their business as usual. The number of youths who actually picked up rocks barely rose to the dozens. Their anger was aimed as much at the police as against “the West”. The street-fighting looked more like a rowdy sporting event, replete with parading to the cameras, than a clash of civilisations.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Women are more violent, says study

    Sunday, June 24, 2012   No comments

Bruised and battered husbands have been complaining for years and now the biggest research project of its kind has proved them right. When it comes to domestic confrontation, women are more violent than men.

The study, which challenges the long-standing view that women are overwhelmingly the victims of aggression, is based on an analysis of 34,000 men and women by a British academic. Women lash out more frequently than their husbands or boyfriends, concludes John Archer, professor of psychology at the University of Central Lancashire and president of the International Society for Research on Aggression.

Male violence remains a more serious phenomenon: men proved more likely than women to injure their partners. Female aggression tends to involve pushing, slapping and hurling objects. Yet men made up nearly 40 per cent of the victims in the cases that he studied - a figure much higher than previously reported.

Professor Archer analysed data from 82 US and UK studies on relationship violence, dating back to 1972. He also looked at 17 studies based on victim reports from 1,140 men and women. Speaking last night, he said that female aggression was greater in westernised women because they were "economically emancipated" and therefore not afraid of ending a relationship.


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